Yom Kippur 5782-2021

“Smashing the Golden Calves”
(updated and revised from Yom Kippur 5764-2003)

The sin of the Golden Calf is perhaps the most reprehensible crime that the Jewish nation has committed against G-d. At the foot of Mount Sinai, immediately following the miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery, when the Al-mighty showed the world that He had chosen the Jews as His people, the people brazenly defied Him, and were unfaithful to their beloved Creator. Yom Kippur is a day to express regret, and vow to change the many ways that the Jewish people may have betrayed their relationship with their Father-in-Heaven during the previous year.

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Vayeilech 5782-2021

“Appreciating our own Inner Worth”
(updated and revised from Vayeilech 5761-2001)

Unfortunately, there are many who feel themselves unworthy of G-d's forgiveness, or unworthy of participating in the communal contrition of the Jewish people. Judaism rejects that assumption, insisting that each and every soul is precious to G-d, and surely qualifies for Divine forgiveness.

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Nitzavim 5781-2021

“Striving to Reach Heaven During the Days of Awe”
(updated and revised from Nitzavim 5761-2001)

During the period of selichot, the Jewish people have a unique opportunity to ascend and grow morally and religiously. It is an opportunity for each of us to improve our attitudes and behaviors, to work on our relationships with both humans and with G-d. If we strive to reach heaven, we can rest assured that we will be blessed, because we are on the right track.

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Kee Tavo 5781-2021

“A Contemporary Interpretation of an Ancient Reproof”
(updated and revised from Kee Tavo 5762-2002)

As we read the תּוֹכָחָה--“Toh’cha’cha,” G-d’s reproof of the people of Israel for their sins in parashat Kee Tavo, it is impossible not to recognize the evils of contemporary society predicted and fulfilled. G-d begs His people to “choose life.” If we indeed choose life, the tragic predictions of the Torah should never occur. In fact, we can forestall almost all evil by properly educating ourselves and our children to conduct our lives properly, fulfilling our responsibilities to others and to the environment, with genuine loving-kindness.

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Kee Teitzei 5781-2021

“Transforming an Enemy into a Friend”
(updated and revised from Kee Teitzei 5762-2002)

The Torah contains two quite remarkable laws concerning the treatment of animals. In parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of טְעִינָה--teh'eenah, the requirement to help a friend load an animal whose load is falling off. In parasahat Mishpatim, we learn the law of פְּרִיקָה--peh'reekah, the requirement to help a friend unload an animal that is falling under its load. From the Talmudic discussion concerning one who is confronted with two animals--one that needs to be loaded and another that needs to be unloaded, we learn some remarkable laws about both animals and human beings.

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Shoftim 5781-2021

“The Torah-the First Environmentally-Friendly Treatise"
(updated and revised from Shoftim 5762-2002)

Among the many revolutionary laws found in the Torah, are the environmental laws found in parashat Shoftim. G-d’s commandment in Genesis to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, "to work the land and to protect it," was humanity's first call for conservation and protecting the environment. This revolutionary message that the Torah introduced 3,300 years ago is as fresh, as vibrant and as green as if it were given today.

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